the moment of opportunity

About 16 months ago…

My ex did a really dumb thing. I mean aside from all the dumb things that he did throughout our relationship, including eventually losing me. The really dumb thing he did was to get pulled over after having a few drinks. When the phone rang that night at 10:30pm, I didn’t answer. When it rang again, I knew there was bad news.

The sad thing about it was that I’d been waiting for it. I was pretty sure that the time would come when he would make the choice to drive after drinking too much. And, frankly, I think many (if not most) of us have probably also made that choice once or more and realized after the fact that we were past the point at which we should have been operating heavy machinery (i.e. a vehicle).

When he arrived home at 3:30am and crawled into bed, he reached to me. And he said, “I really want to turn things around. But I need a loving relationship to do it.”

This from a man who had, more than a year ago, pronounced me manipulative and controlling, then threatened to leave. Never once did he apologize, explain himself or make any attempt to make amends. And now it seemed that he was pushing responsibility off on me, again. He was to be charged with Driving Under the Influence (Driving While Intoxicated?), and it was because I wasn’t loving enough?! Bullshit!

I said, “I really hope you turn things around, for yourself and for your children.” And I rolled back over and went back to sleep.

But I was glad it happened, for two reasons:

  • He had finally acknowledged that there was no longer love in our relationship and opened the door for communication about it.
  • I no longer feared that he could ask for primary physical custody of our children. With all my travel, it’s possible he might have been able to argue that he was the primary caregiver and a stable force in our children’s lives. In the case he wanted to argue, I now had a counter point.

A few days later, I approached him while he was sitting on the sofa. I reminded him that he had asked for a loving relationship and told him that I didn’t want to try any longer. I told him that I had lost hope for us. And I explained that I had imagined every possible scenario, and could see no other way for the children to continue to live in our home but for him to move out.

It was one of the saddest, scariest and most empowering moments in my life. But it absolutely, positively had to happen.

And he agreed.

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